Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A Dirty Problem Requiring a New Solution

Put your hand up if you have ever opened up a new 5oz bottle of Hoppes #9 or your favourite cleaning solvent, only to knock it over and have it spill all over your gun vice and work bench?  I've done it more times than I'd like to admit.  It costs me a small fortune, especially when the local gun shop charges $20 per bottle.  This lead me to a search for a more affordable and equally effective firearm cleaning solution.

After doing some research, I have discovered a lot of our gun owning brothers and sisters in the United States are using "Ed's Red".  Its a home mixed concoction of chemicals and oils that are easily found at your local hardware and automotive stores.  The original recipe contains lanolin, but I have decided to substitute the lanolin with some ULX110, a specialty motor oil that I have left over from my motorcycle racing days. I'm never going to race again so I figured it may as well be put to good use.

The mix that I decided on is:
  • 1 litre of Castrol Dex III automatic transmission fluid - $12.99 @ Super Cheap Auto
  • 1 litre of Diggers acetone cleaning solvent - $10.95 @ Bunnings Warehouse
  • 1 litre of Diggers low odour kerosene - $9.85 @ Bunnings Warehouse
  • 1 litre of Diggers mineral turpentine - $2.97 @ Bunnings Warehouse
  • 100ml of ULX110 motor oil.
Standard kerosene is cheap and blue in colour. I purchased the more expensive and clear low odour kerosene because I will be using it indoors.  I don't really need to be stinking out the reloading room.

All ingredients are available at your hardware and automotive store

Mixing is simple, Start with the transmission fluid, then add the rest of the ingredients in any order you wish. I mixed mine in a 5 litre HDPE container that was once used for an all purpose cleaner. Give it a good shake to mix it well.

Its not hard to see why its called Ed's Red!

Use Ed's Red in the same manner that you would any other cleaner. I cleaned my M69 revolver and found it to be excellent.  I am going to reserve my full judgement on its effectiveness after I have used it to clean a few rifles and some more handguns.

Lets take a look at the economic benefits for those of us that are tighter than a fish's arsehole when it comes to parting with our hard earned cash.  These four ingredients came to a total of $36.76.  I didn't include the motor oil as it was some left overs I had in the garage. 

Price per 5oz (147ml)
Price per 5 litres
Hoppes #9
Ed’s Red
As you can see, it's definitely more economical to make your own solvent than purchasing brand name cleaners. I'm not knocking the effectiveness of the commercial products, but I shoot so much that it's no longer affordable for me to use them.

Now when I spill my cleaning solution, I know that it's not going to hit my bank balance as hard. 

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

CBE Bullet Moulds

I shoot a lot. To make it cheaper I reload, but the most effective way of reducing the costs associated with shooting is to cast your own projectiles.  I started casting when I purchased my first black powder firearm.  It was simple, if I wanted to shoot it, I had no choice to cast my own because there is snowballs chance in hell of finding minie and round balls on the shelf at any of my local gun shops.

For a long time I have been casting with the Lee aluminum moulds. They are good and cast well, but I have also been using a brass mould made by Cast Bullet Engineering here in Australia. CBE make top quality moulds in many different sizes. Being able to cast a bullet to suit your precise barrel dimensions is critical in getting cast bullets to perform.

I have been reloading for my Mosin M44 but the cost of projectiles is ridiculous. $69 for 100 Speer Hot-Cor 180gr projectiles is way out of my budget. For the cost of 2 boxes of bullets, I was able to purchase a 314-200GC mould and I have now cast a little over 200 bullets in 2 days.

314-200GC Mould - These moulds are a work of art!

CBE is owned by David Commens.  I am lucky enough to shoot at the same small country range as Dave so its only natural that I purchase his made to order moulds. One bonus is that I am able to pick them up, saving on postage!

The whole product oozes quality. 2 allen keys for all the screws are provided, along with a full set of instructions on how to prepare and break in your new mould.

The CBE lettering on the sprue plate is a nice touch.

This is the second CBE mould that I have purchased and i see many more in my future. I can see 3 in the catalogue that I will purchase in the not too distant future. Once of these being a hollow point mould specifically for 300 Blackout.  

I have been using a 340gr wad-cutter CBE mould for a few years now and my friends think I'm a masochist because I enjoy shooting that bullet from my 4" M69 revolver. 

44Mag 340gr semi-wadcutter, because 240 grainers are for women and children!

I will be coating mine with Hi-Tek coating then seating the gas checks. I pressed a few on to check the fit and to test my new sizing die. 

In my opinion, CBE make some of the finest bullet moulds on the market. CBE offer hundreds of bullet designs for pistol, rifle and black powder. Visit www.castbulletengineering.com.au to see if there is a mould to suit your needs.

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Monday, 8 May 2017

Out With the Old, In With The New

We all regret doing it, but from time to time you have to sell a gun in order to get into a different firearm you desire.  In my earlier years, I never ever considered selling a gun.  I'm sure many of you can relate to that sentiment.  Often you read comments on gun forums like "It was a great gun, I wish I never sold it" and the like. I too will be saying the same thing about the guns I have parted with.

In my time of owning firearms, I've sold 8. I always ended up replacing the ones I have, so the number of guns I own always remains at or around the same level.  One thing that I can safely say is that the older I get, the more I tend to purchase better quality replacements or something that is just a little bit different to the everyday firearms you find at your local dealer.

I have just parted with my favourite shotgun, the TOZ 66 12g coach gun. It's a great shotgun, I like it a lot but I want to get into something different.  Hammered coach guns are bloody great fun but there isn't anything that that shotgun can do that my single shot CBC cant, except fire 2 shots instead of one. I'm also in the process of parting with my .50cal Hawken black powder rifle to raise funds for a different project. It was my first black powder rifle and it was a good cheap way to get into the game. I learnt so much and I only ever dry-balled it twice, which isn't too bad for a novice black powder enthusiast. I've never fired the ram rod down range and I touch wood that it never happens!

Goodbye TOZ-66!

Converting a rifle into a good pistol calibre has always been something I have wanted to do.  Initially, I thought about 10mm Auto or 9x25 Dillon, something that packs a real punch, but its not very economical. Finding a bolt action that will feed those calibres reliably from an internal or detachable magazine is a real challenge. But there is a kit available to turn what is a very common rifle here in Australia into a bolt action carbine using the 45acp.

I love the .45 round.  In my mind its one of the better pistol calibres. Yes I have .38's and .44's but there is something very special about the 45ACP.  Special Interest Arms make a kit to convert the Enfield #4 Mk1 to 45ACP. The kit converts the Enfield to use standard 1911 magazines of which I have plenty. It's definitely going to be a recipe for fun. Some 200gr JHP's travelling at 1000fps will easily cause the demise of wild pigs from 20 to 100 yards.

Special Interest Arms 45ACP Conversion for #4 Mk1, Kit is available in Australia from 

In the very near future, I'll have this conversion kit on its way to Ken at KG Custom where he will work his magic. I am yet to decide if I want this to be an all black rifle or fit a Boyd's laminate buttstock and forend. Its going to be a neat package no matter how it looks.

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Sunday, 12 March 2017

1895 Spanish Mauser Carbine in 7.62 Nato /.308 Win

Having fun with my 1895 Spanish Mauser Carbine. Short rifles are so much fun to shoot. Light, easy to handle and shoulder and they truly pack a punch.

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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Russian TOZ 66 12g Coach Gun

Having some fun with my 12g TOZ 66 out on the range. Look at my flinching! In my defense I can say it kicks like a bastard. My shoulder is still tender 3 days later!

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Friday, 27 January 2017

Home Brew IDPA Mild Steel Target

I sometimes get bored shooting at GlowShot adhesive targets on corflute sheet. Sure they are great for checking your accuracy or sighting in, but there isn't much of a reaction except for a hole.  Steel gongs on the other hand move around and make a fantastic noise when struck.

I do have one target made from ar500 steel and its a great challenge. If you haven't tried shooting at a 2moa (117mm) round gong with a 22lr at 100 metres, you have to give it a go. Its great seeing who can land the most hits from a 10 round mag standing unsupported!  I purchased this one from stsonline.com.au 


I've always wanted an IDPA steel torso target but I never have enough cash to purchase one.  Primers, powder and projectiles are always a higher priority.
A few weekends ago I was pottering in the workshop and spotted an 8mm mild steel plate between the bench and wall. Judging by its appearance, it was once used as a barbecue plate.  A quick google and I had the dimensions I required. I measured the plate but it was too small to make a full size torso.  What to do, what to do.  I thought stuff it, lets make one 2/3 scale. Multiplying the dimensions by .666 had me well on my way.

The only tool I had to cut the steel with was an Oxy set. I had zero experience using one and it shows in the finish of the target.  Sure it's a bit rough, but I'm only shooting at it.

Dodgy Brothers Inc. steel target created in devilish proportions!

All that is left to do is weld a hook to a star picket. bash it into the ground and hang the target. Being mild steel I will only be shooting 22lr, .38spl, 32/20 and some .45acp at it once I get my conversion kit for the No4 Mk1.  

One day I will be able to afford some more ar500 steel targets but until then, i'll make use of whatever I can.

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